10 Hysterically Funny Urban Legends

A bank robbery gone wrong, a surprise at a wedding, a curious remark by the first man to walk on the moon—these are a just a few of the hilarious urban legends people love to share. The stories, told and retold over the years, are a kind of folklore for the digital era, funny tales that travel from inbox to inbox. While some urban legends are best told around the campfire, these might be more suited to a stand-up routine.

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The Cigar Arsonist

The Cigar Arsonist
Funny Stories from the Urban Legends Archive. Stockbyte / Getty Images

A Charlotte, North Carolina man, having purchased a case of rare, very expensive cigars, went to an insurance company to have them insured against fire. Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of fabulous cigars, and having yet to make a single premium payment on the policy, the man filed a claim against the insurance company.

In his claim, the man stated that he had lost the cigars "in a series of small fires." The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason that the man had consumed the cigars in a normal fashion. The man sued—and won! In delivering his ruling, the judge stated that since the man held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that the cigars would be insured against fire, without defining what it considered to be unacceptable fire, it was obligated to compensate the insured for his loss.

Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company grudgingly accepted the judge's ruling and paid the man $15,000 for the rare cigars he lost in the fires. After the man cashed his check, however, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of arson. With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used as evidence against him, the man was convicted of intentionally burning the rare cigars and sentenced to 24 consecutive one-year terms.

Don't mess with your insurance company.

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The Zoo Parking Attendant

Parking Lot
Mitch Diamond / Getty Images

Outside the Bristol Zoo, in England, there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 coaches, or buses. As the story goes, the lot was manned by a very pleasant attendant with a ticket machine charging cars 1 pound (about $1.40) and coaches 5 pounds (about $7). This parking attendant worked there for all of 25 years. Then, one day, he just didn't turn up for work.

"Oh well," said Bristol Zoo Management, "we'd better phone up the City Council and get them to send a new parking attendant."

"Er... no," said the Council, "that parking lot is your responsibility."

"Er... no," said Bristol Zoo management, "the attendant was employed by the City Council, wasn't he?"

"Er... no," insisted the Council.

Sitting in his villa somewhere on the coast of Spain, is a man who had been taking the parking lot fees, estimated at 400 pounds (about $560) per day at Bristol Zoo for the last 25 years. Assuming 7 days a week, this amounts to just over 3.6 million pounds ($7 million).

And no one even knows his name.

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Biscuits for Brains

Once, there was a sweet older lady who would often do grocery shopping for the infirm and elderly in her church. One hot, summer day a lady asked her to pick up a few things and bring them by her house in a dangerous part of Baltimore. The sweet old lady was wary but felt that she couldn't say no, even though she was terrified of driving in a part of the city that was often visited by violence. The woman went on her way, picked up the groceries and proceeded to the lady's house.

As she entered the lady's neighborhood she noticed young hoodlums gathering on every street corner. Although she had no air conditioning in the car, she rolled the windows up tightly (as a safety precaution) and suffered in the 90+ degree heat.

She drove ahead until suddenly she heard a loud pop and felt a jolt to the back of her head. She reached to feel the back of her head and came back with a wet oozing mess that she was sure was part of her brain. Believing that she had been shot, the woman turned around and raced to a local hospital.

Somehow she made it to the emergency room and had the strength to walk right in. She told the attendant that she had been shot and she was immediately rushed back to an exam room. Doctors whirled around and asked where she had been shot (since they saw no blood). She said "my head," and the doctors found a mass of the oozing white substance the woman had first noticed.

But the white substance wasn't part of her brain. It was only a lump of biscuit dough from a can that had exploded in the heat of her car.

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The Wrong Bank

One night, shortly after midnight, two robbers broke into a bank. They expected to find one or two large safes filled with cash and valuables. Instead, they were surprised to see hundreds of smaller safes scattered throughout the bank. The robbers cracked the first safe's combination, and inside they found only a bowl of vanilla pudding.

As recorded on the bank's audio tape system, one robber said, "At least we'll have a bit to eat." The robbers opened up a second safe, and it also contained nothing but vanilla pudding. The process continued until all the safes were opened.

They found not one pound sterling, a diamond, or an ounce of gold. Instead, all the safes contained covered bowls of pudding.

Disappointed, the robbers made a quiet exit, each leaving with nothing more than a queasy, uncomfortably full stomach.

The newspaper headline read: "Ireland's Largest Sperm Bank Robbed Early This Morning."

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Surprise at the Wedding

A wedding took place at Clemson University in South Carolina. It was a huge wedding with about 300 guests.

After the wedding, at the reception, the groom got up on stage at the microphone to talk to the crowd. He said that he wanted to thank everyone for coming, many from long distances, to support them at their wedding. He especially wanted to thank the bride's and groom's families for coming, and to thank his new father-in-law for providing such a fabulous reception.

To thank everyone for coming and bringing gifts, he said he wanted to give everyone a special gift just from him. Taped to the bottom of everyone's chair was a manila envelope.

He said that this was his gift and told everyone to open their envelopes.

Inside each envelope was an 8x10 photo of his best man having sex ... with the bride. He had gotten suspicious of the two of them and hired a private detective to trail them weeks prior to the wedding.

After he stood there and watched the people's reactions for a couple of minutes, he turned to the best man and cursed him. He turned to his bride and cursed her. Then he turned to the dumbfounded crowd and said, "I'm out of here!"

He had the marriage annulled the first thing that Monday morning. While most of us would have broken off the engagement immediately after finding out about the affair, this man went through with it anyway, as if nothing was wrong.

His revenge? Letting everyone know exactly what happened...and making the bride's parents pay over $32,000 for the wedding.

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The Queen, the President, and the Flatulent Horse

At Heathrow Airport in England, a 300-foot red carpet was stretched out to Air Force One. President Bush strode out to a warm but dignified handshake from Queen Elizabeth II. They rode in a silver 1934 Bentley to the edge of central London, where they boarded an open 17th-century coach hitched to six magnificent white horses.

As they rode toward Buckingham Palace, each looking out and waving to the thousands of cheering Britons lining the streets, all was going well. It was indeed a glorious display of pageantry and dignity. All of a sudden, the right rear horse released a tremendous, eye-smarting blast of flatulence, and the coach was filled with noxious fumes.

Uncomfortable, but maintaining control, the two dignitaries did their best to ignore the whole incident. Then the Queen turned to Mr. Bush and said, "Mr. President, please accept my regrets. I'm sure you understand that there are some things even a Queen cannot control."

George W., ever the Texas gentleman, replied, "Your Majesty, please don't give the matter another thought. You know, if you hadn't said something I would have assumed it was one of the horses."

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Bricklayer Accident Report

A bricklayer's accident report was printed in the newsletter of a Workers' Compensation Board. It said:

Dear Sir:

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block 3 of the accident report form. I put "Poor planning" as the cause of my accident. You asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the following details will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building. When I completed my work I found I had some bricks left over, which, when weighed later, were found to be slightly in excess of 500 lbs. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley, which was attached to the side of the building on the sixth floor.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went down and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow descent of the bricks. You will note in Block 11 of the accident report form that I weigh 135 lbs.

Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope.  Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions, and the broken collarbone, as listed in Section 3 of the accident report form.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley. Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience.  At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel.  Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, that barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs. I refer you again to my weight.  

As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building.  In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up.  This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth and severe lacerations of my legs and lower body.  Here my luck began to change slightly.  The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks, and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked. 

I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in pain, unable to move, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope and I lay there watching the empty barrel begin its journey back down onto me.  This explains the two broken legs.  

I hope this answers your inquiry.

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Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky

When astronaut Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, he not only gave his famous "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" statement, but followed it with several remarks, mostly com traffic between him, the other astronauts, and Mission Control. Just before he re-entered the lander, however, he made the enigmatic remark, "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky."

Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival Soviet cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs. Over the years many people questioned Armstrong as to what the "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky" statement meant, but Armstrong always just smiled.

On July 5, 1995, while the astronaut was answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26-year-old question to Armstrong. This time he finally responded. Mr. Gorsky had finally died and so Armstrong felt he could finally answer the question.

When he was a kid, he was playing baseball one day with a friend in the backyard. His friend hit a fly ball, which landed in front of his neighbors' bedroom windows. His neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Gorsky.

As he leaned down to pick up the ball, young Armstrong heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky, "Oral sex! You want oral sex?! You'll get oral sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!"

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The Exploding Toilet

A man was working on his motorcycle on his patio when the engine somehow slipped into gear. The man, still holding the handlebars, was dragged through a glass patio door and, along with the motorcycle, dumped onto the floor inside his house. His wife, hearing the crash, ran into the dining and found her husband lying on the floor, cut and bleeding, and the patio window shattered. The wife ran to the phone and summoned an ambulance. Because they lived on a fairly large hill, the wife went down the several flights of long steps to the street to direct the paramedics to her husband.

After the ambulance arrived and transported the husband to the hospital, the wife righted the motorcycle and pushed it outside. Seeing that gas had spilled on the floor, she grabbed some papers towels, blotted up the gasoline, and threw the towels in the toilet. The husband was treated at the hospital and was released to come home.

After arriving home, he looked at the shattered patio door and the damage done to his motorcycle. He became despondent, went into the bathroom, sat on the toilet and smoked a cigarette. After finishing the cigarette, he flipped it between his legs into the toilet bowl while still seated. The wife, who was in the kitchen, heard a loud explosion and her husband screaming. She ran into the bathroom and found her husband lying on the floor. His trousers had been blown away and he was suffering burns on the buttocks, the back of his legs and his groin. The wife again ran to the phone and called for an ambulance.

The same ambulance crew was dispatched and the wife met them at the street. The paramedics loaded the husband onto the stretcher and began carrying him to the street. While they were going down the stairs, one of the paramedics asked the wife how the husband had burned himself. She told them and the paramedics started laughing so hard, one of them tipped the stretcher and dumped the husband out. He fell down the remaining steps and broke his arm.

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The Halloween Surprise

A married couple were invited to a swanky masked Halloween Party. Before they were about to leave, the wife got a terrible headache. She told her husband to go to the party alone. Being a devoted husband, he protested, but she said she was going to take some aspirin and go to bed and there was no need of his good time being spoiled by not going. So he put on his costume and away he went.

The wife, after sleeping soundly for one hour, awakened without pain, and as it was still early, she decided to go to the party. Since her husband did not know what her costume was, she thought she would have some fun by watching her husband to see how he acted when she was not with him. She joined the party and soon spotted her husband cavorting around on the dance floor, dancing with every nice woman he could.

His wife went up to him, and, being a rather seductive woman herself, easily convinced him to leave his partner and dance. She let him go as far as he wished. At last, he whispered a little proposition in her ear. She agreed, and they went out to one of the cars and had sex.

Just before the unmasking at midnight, she slipped away and went home and put the costume away. She got into bed, wondering what kind of explanation her husband would give for his behavior.

She was sitting up reading when he came in. She asked him what kind of a time he had had. He said, "Oh the same old thing. You know I never have a good time when you're not there."

Then she asked, "Did you dance much?"

He replied, "I'll tell you, I never even danced one dance. When I got there, I met Pete, Bill Brown and some other guys, so we went into the den and played poker all evening. But I'll tell you...The guy I loaned my costume to sure had a real good time!"